How Encrypted Searchable Symmetric Encryption (ESSE) Works and Why It's Important for Data Security

How Encrypted Searchable Symmetric Encryption (ESSE) Works and Why It's Important for Data Security

dev.to - Jan 24

Data Security + ESSE

Are you tired of worrying about hackers getting their hands on your sensitive information? Well, fear not, my friend, because Encrypted Searchable Symmetric Encryption (ESSE) is here to save the day!

But what exactly is ESSE, and how does it work? In layman's terms, ESSE is a type of encryption that allows for both the encryption and searchability of data. This means that your data is secure from outside threats, and you can still easily search through it without having to decrypt the entire thing first.

Here's a little more technical explanation: ESSE uses a technique called "keyword-based encryption", where a user can encrypt a document using a specific keyword or phrase. This keyword can then search through the encrypted document and retrieve the relevant information without decrypting the entire thing.

So why is ESSE so important for data security? With the increasing amount of personal and sensitive information being stored digitally, the need for secure encryption methods is at an all-time high. ESSE provides an added layer of security by encrypting the data and making it searchable without compromising the encryption. This means that even if a hacker were to get their hands on your data, they wouldn't be able to make sense of it without the proper keyword or phrase.

Code Example

Here is an example of how ESSE can be implemented in Python:

import os
from cryptography.fernet import Fernet
from cryptography.hazmat.primitives import hashes
from cryptography.hazmat.primitives.kdf.pbkdf2 import PBKDF2HMAC

def encrypt_data(data, password):
    # Derive a key from the password using PBKDF2
    salt = os.urandom(16)
    kdf = PBKDF2HMAC(
        algorithm=hashes.SHA256,
        iterations=100000,
        salt=salt,
        length=32,
    )
    key = base64.urlsafe_b64encode(kdf.derive(password))
    f = Fernet(key)
    encrypted_data = f.encrypt(data)
    return (encrypted_data, salt)

def decrypt_data(encrypted_data, password, salt):
    # Derive the key from the password using PBKDF2
    kdf = PBKDF2HMAC(
        algorithm=hashes.SHA256,
        iterations=100000,
        salt=salt,
        length=32,
    )
    key = base64.urlsafe_b64encode(kdf.derive(password))
    f = Fernet(key)
    data = f.decrypt(encrypted_data)
    return data

# Encrypt the data using a password
data = "This is some sensitive data"
password = "my_secret_password"
encrypted_data, salt = encrypt_data(data, password)

# Decrypt the data using the same password
decrypted_data = decrypt_data(encrypted_data, password, salt)
print(decrypted_data) # This will print the original data
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The above code is an example of how to encrypt and decrypt data using a password in ESSE. The data is first encrypted using a password-derived key with the help of PBKDF2 key derivation function. The password is then used to decrypt the data later.

Keep in mind that this is a simple example and should be used only for demonstration purposes. In a real-world scenario, you would want to use a more secure key derivation function and a more secure encryption algorithm. It's also important to consider the key management in a real-world scenario.

How to apply ESSE in different industries?

The healthcare industry is one example of an industry that can benefit from ESSE. Hospitals and healthcare providers are required by law to keep patient information confidential. ESSE can encrypt patient and medical records while still allowing doctors and nurses to search through the information to find specific patient information.

The finance industry is another example. Banks and other financial institutions deal with sensitive information such as personal financial data and credit card information. ESSE can be used to encrypt this information, making it secure from outside threats while still allowing financial institutions to search through the data for specific transactions or account information.

Law enforcement agencies and e-commerce companies also need to keep sensitive information secure while still being able to search through the data. ESSE can be used by these industries to strike a balance between security and accessibility. Government agencies and legal firms can also benefit from using ESSE to protect sensitive information.

Lastly, Encrypted Searchable Symmetric Encryption (ESSE) is an important tool for data security in today's digital age. It allows organizations to keep sensitive information secure while still being able to search through the data. This makes it a valuable tool for healthcare, finance, law enforcement, e-commerce, government, and legal industries.

Vaultree's Proprietary Cryptography

Vaultree offers a software development kit (SDK) that uses its proprietary cryptography, which mainly combines Fully Homomorphic Encryption (FHE) and ESSE together. It allows processing (search and computation) of fully encrypted data at near plaintext speeds. This combination provides a highly secure solution that allows organizations to keep sensitive data safe while still being able to search through it. You can see how it works here.

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If you're interested in learning more about Vaultree's SDK and how it can benefit your organization, you can request a free demo by contacting us. Our team will be more than happy to walk you through the features and explain how our solution can help keep your data secure.


About Vaultree
Vaultree has developed the world’s first Fully Functional Data-in-Use Encryption solution that solves the industry’s fundamental security issue: persistent data encryption, even in the event of a leak. Vaultree enables enterprises, including those in the financial services and healthcare / pharmaceutical sectors, to mitigate the great financial, cyber, legal, and business risk of a data breach in plain text. With Vaultree, organisations process, search, and compute ubiquitous data at scale, without ever having to surrender encryption keys or decrypt server-side. If a leak occurs, Vaultree’s data-in-use encryption persists, rendering the data unusable to bad actors. Integrating Vaultree into existing database technologies is seamless, requiring no technology or platform changes. Vaultree is a privately held company based in Ireland and the U.S.

For more information, please visit www.vaultree.com

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